Go humans: Lee Sedol scores first victory against supercomputer

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Take heart, humans: We're not completely obsolete yet. AlphaGo's creators had described Go as the "Mt Everest" of AI, citing the complexity of the game, which requires a degree of creativity and intuition to prevail over an opponent. Lee had vowed to try his best to win at least one game after his second defeat. "Congratulations! He was too good for us today and pressured #AlphaGo into a mistake that it couldn't recover from".

According to a report by The Verge, the ancient Chinese board game of Go has strictly been considered impossible for computers to play at a world-class level, despite similar breakthroughs in other games like chess and checkers.

In January, I asked Demis Hassabis - head of the Google DeepMind research group that's behind AlphaGo - if there were any plans for AlphaGo to take on Facebook's computer Go player.

AlphaGo eventually determined that it didn't have a substantial chance of winning - and resigned after 180 moves.

Just a few hours ago, AlphaGo, an artificially intelligent algorithm created by DeepMind, won against Lee Sedol, a top player in the board game Go. The goal is to put more territory under one's control by surrounding vacant areas with the stones. In 1997, IBM's Deep Blue computer famously beat Garry Kasparov at chess.

Google acquired DeepMind in 2014 to bolster its portfolio in artificial intelligence and robotics. During the first match, it only won against the human champion by a narrow margin.

Reflecting on his third consecutive loss, Lee Sedol admits he is under a lot of pressure after losing the first two games. This victory is the second landmark win for AlphaGo, following its first 5-0 win against another human player in the latter months of 2015. He also noted that AlphaGo made some moves of a "bug" type when he made unexpected moves, saying AlphaGo's capability of dealing with unexpected moves.

But after Sunday's match, the 33-year-old South Korean Go grandmaster, who has won 18 worldwide championships, said he found two weaknesses in the artificial intelligence program. "AlphaGo can help us think outside of the box in Go games".

Even though the computer is now the clear winner out of the full match, there are two more games to be played in the coming days - one Sunday, and the last on Tuesday.

 

Considering that many machine learning technologies at the heart of AlphaGo is already running services inside some of the world's largest Internet companies, the victory shows how quickly AI will progress in the years to come.

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